Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet review

£39,674 - £82,301
Published: 26 Jun 2018


What is it like to drive?

While the C-Class has a traditional soft top, the addition of the folding mechanism and chassis strengthening means it weighs a decent chunk more than a standard car. Not to worry: despite being rear-wheel drive, the C is hardly known for loutish dynamics, and the Cabriolet inspires a more relaxed driving style anyway.

It’s surefooted, composed and easy to drive, especially given every engine comes as standard with an automatic gearbox. The only convertibles on sale that might prove more relaxing are Merc’s larger E-Class and S-Class and the Rolls-Royce Dawn. All cost a bit (or a lot) more than this one.

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The exceptions are those AMG versions. The C43 comes with four-wheel drive and feels pretty grown up, but its sports exhaust sounds utterly bonkers, and in a car as classy as this, the noise is akin to the jazzy silk lining in a sober grey suit. A lot of fun, but only worth flashing to onlookers at the appropriate moment.

The rear-driven C63 lives on another planet entirely, its raucous 503bhp V8 borrowed from elsewhere in the AMG range and sounding boisterous at all speeds, not just when the mood takes you. A high-performance convertible might flirt with convention – sticking an overpowered engine in a roofless car hasn’t always ended well – but this one works remarkably well, and it’s a huge amount of fun to drive. So long as you can afford the tyre bill.

The big thing you’ll want to know about them all is how they overcome the traditional cabrio compromises: shake through the steering wheel and blustering around your head. The former simply isn’t an issue in the C-Class; we’ve driven very few convertibles that feel as solid as this one. Refinement is extremely strong with the soft-top up, too, and you could be conned into thinking you were in a fixed-roof coupe if you’d not seen the exterior.

That Aircap stuff, meanwhile, does a very good job of keeping the cabin calm, though only up to about 70mph. This is still a cabrio in which you’ll want the roof in place before you hit the motorway if you’ve any hope of listening to your music or passengers with any intent.

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It also looks pants with the Aircap protrusions in place. The front contraption looks like you’ve strapped a rogue ski to the top of the windscreen, while the rear deflector gives the impression a large piece of plastic toast has popped up from the rear bulkhead. Lots of people buy cars like this for their looks – and to be looked at – so while the tech is no doubt effective, it’s not attractive. You’ll be pleased to know you can keep it all retracted at town speeds and still avoid too much turbulence inside.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Mercedes-Benz C Class C63 S Night Edition Premium Plus 2dr MCT
  • 0-624.1s
  • CO2
  • BHP510
  • MPG
  • Price£88,565

the cheapest

Mercedes-Benz C Class C180 AMG Line 2dr
  • 0-628.9s
  • CO2149.0g/km
  • BHP156
  • MPG43.5
  • Price£39,674

the greenest

Mercedes-Benz C Class C220d AMG Line 2dr 9G-Tronic
  • 0-627.5s
  • CO2127.0g/km
  • BHP194
  • MPG58.9
  • Price£44,844
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